Archives May 2022

Malaysian Desserts: 25 Traditional Sweets You Need to Try in Malaysia

I’ve always had a soft spot for Malaysian desserts, simply because they’re quite similar to the desserts we have in the Philippines. Even if it’s my first time trying a dessert in Malaysia, I’m almost sure how it’ll taste just from looking at it.

Ais kacang is the Malaysian equivalent of halo-halo. Turon is reminiscent of pisang goreng while kuih and kakanin are like Malaysian and Filipino relatives who grew up in two different countries. They’re clearly different but still alike in so many ways.

Sweet things always bring a sense of comfort. So does familiarity, which is why I enjoy trying Malaysian desserts. They may be foreign but they still taste like home.

If you have a soft spot for the sweeter things in life, then here are 25 Malaysian desserts that you need to try in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or any other city in Malaysia.


If you’re planning a trip to Malaysia and want to learn more about the local cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Food Tours: Food and Market Tours in Malaysia
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Malaysia

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1. Ais Kacang

As described, I like to think of ais kacang as the Malaysian relative of Filipino halo-halo. It literally means “bean ice” and refers to a refreshing Malaysian shaved ice dessert topped with a smorgasbord of colorful ingredients.

In Malaysia, ais kacang is also commonly referred to as ABC. It’s short for air batu campur which means “mixed ice”. Originally, ais kacang was made with just shaved ice and red beans but today, it’s made with a plethora of different ingredients like sweet corn, grass jelly, palm seed, roasted peanuts, cendol, and ice cream. Condensed, evaporated, or coconut milk is drizzled on top along with one or more syrups before serving.

Ais kacang is equally popular in Brunei and in Singapore where it’s known as ice kachang.

Photo by spukkato

2. Cendol

Cendol could very well be my favorite Malaysian dessert. Like ais kacang, it’s a refreshing dessert made with shaved ice, but with a more specific set of ingredients. Its key ingredients are coconut milk, palm sugar syrup (gula melaka), and these green rice flour jelly noodles from where the dessert gets its name.

Cendol is popular in many countries throughout Southeast Asia like Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. It can be prepared with different ingredients depending on where it’s from but in Malaysia, it’s typically made with cendol, shaved ice, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and sweetened red beans.

I absolutely love the earthy sweetness of gula melaka (palm sugar) which is why cendol is one of my favorite Malaysian desserts.

Photo by tehcheesiong

3. Bubur Cha Cha

Bubur cha cha refers to a sweet dessert soup made with coconut milk and a mix of different ingredients like sago pearls, purple sweet potatoes, bananas, yams, grated coconut, coconut cream, and pandan leaves. It can be served hot or cold and can be eaten for breakfast or for dessert.

Bubur cha cha is one of the most well-known Peranakan/Nyonya desserts. It’s common in parts of Southeast Asia where there’s a sizeable Peranakan population like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Phuket.

Photo by pixelbleed

4. Bubur Pulut Hitam

Bubur pulut hitam refers to a type of Indonesian and Malaysian dessert porridge or pudding made with black glutinous rice (pulut hitam), coconut milk, pandan leaves, and palm sugar. Some recipes make it with red beans as well, the same red adzuki beans used in Chinese hong dou tang or red bean soup.

Like many Southeast Asian sweet porridges, bubur pulut hitam is a popular Malysian dessert that can be eaten at any time of the day.

Photo by nawadoln

5. Tang Yuan

I recently wrote about tang yuan in this article about Taiwanese desserts. It refers to a Chinese dessert that’s traditionally prepared to celebrate Dongzhi or the Winter Solstice Festival in many countries throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Tang yuan is a type of sweet soup made with glutinous rice balls served in a hot ginger- and pandan-infused syrup. The balls can be made in different sizes and colors and can be filled or unfilled. When filled, they’re often stuffed with black sesame paste or ground peanuts.

As you may know, symbolism is important in Chinese culture. Long, unbroken noodle strands symbolize longevity while these round sticky rice balls represent togetherness, completeness, and unity.

Photo by [email protected]

6. Sago Gula Melaka

Sago gula melaka is another of my favorite Malaysian desserts. It’s a simple but delicious pudding made with sago pearls, palm sugar syrup (gula melaka), coconut milk, and pandan leaves.

Enfrijoladas by yeong suejan, used under CC BY 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

7. Apam Balik

If you like murtabak, then you need to try apam balik. It’s a sweet version of murtabak that’s popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei.

Apam balik is made with a batter consisting of flour, eggs, coconut milk, sugar, and baking soda. The batter is cooked in a round pan and slathered with butter before being topped with a variety of different ingredients like cheese, jam, condensed milk, bananas, crushed peanuts, and chocolate.

Before serving, the pancake is folded in half and cut into smaller portions to make it easier to eat.

Photo by Zaitceva

8. Roti Tisu

Roti canai or roti prata is one of my favorite types of Malaysian flatbread. Originally from India and popular in many countries throughout Southeast Asia, it refers to a family of flaky flatbreads that are typically eaten with curry or stuffed with a variety of savory and sweet ingredients. The aforementioned murtabak is one type of stuffed roti canai.

Roti tisu is a sweet, paper-thin version of roti canai. Also known as roti helikopter (helicopter bread), it’s much thinner and crispier than your average roti canai. It’s typically shaped in a cone and served with sweet ingredients like sugar, condensed milk, kaya (coconut jam), or ice cream.

Photo by Najmi9590

9. Pisang Goreng

Pisang goreng refers to Malaysian-style deep-fried banana fritters. They’re made with plantains that are coated in batter and then deep-fried. They remind me of Filipino turon, except the Filipino version is wrapped in lumpia wrapper instead of being coated in batter.

These delicious Malaysian deep-fried bananas can be eaten as is or served with sweet ingredients like condensed milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, or ice cream.

Photo by

10. Muah Chee

From the name, can you guess what this next Malaysian dessert is like? Muah chee is basically the Chinese version of Japanese mochi. Popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, it’s a chewy dessert or snack made with glutinous rice flour coated with peanut powder, sugar, and toasted sesame seeds.

Photo by gracethang

11. Kuih Keria

If you’re a fan of airy donuts, then you need to try kuih keria. It’s a type of Malaysian donut made with mashed sweet potatoes.

Donuts made with all or most of the flour replaced by mashed potatoes tend to be lighter and airier than regular yeast or cake donuts.

Photo by edu1971

12. Kuih Bahulu

Kuih bahulu is a fun and festive Malaysian egg cake. Like tang yuan, it’s a type of festival food that’s traditionally baked to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa (Eid al-Fitr) and Chinese New Year.

These spongy and eggy sweet treats can be made with just three basic ingredients – eggs, all-purpose flour, and sugar. They’re similar to French madeleines except they aren’t made with any butter.

Kuih bahulu can be baked into different shapes and sizes but the most popular are these small flower-shaped cakes made using flower molds.

Photo by ahmadart

13. Kuih Loyang

Kuih loyang refers to these thin and crispy Malaysian rosette cookies. Also known as honeycomb or beehive cookies, they’re similar to Norwegian rosettbakkels and are likely a vestige of European influence on Malaysian cuisine.

Kuih loyang cookies are traditionally prepared for Chinese New Year. They’re made using a batter consisting of eggs, coconut milk, rice flour, and sugar. A brass mold is heated in oil before being dipped into the batter. The mold is then re-immersed in hot oil where the batter becomes detached and finishes cooking.

Kuih loyang literally means “brass cake”, likely in reference to the brass mold used to make these cookies. It’s unclear how they made it to Malaysia, though some speculate they may be Dutch in origin.

Photo by ellinnur

14. Tau Sar Piah

Tau sar piah are flaky Malaysian pastries made with a savory-sweet mung bean filling. Also known as tambun biscuits, they’re a specialty of Penang and one of the most popular souvenir food items you can bring back from the island.

Photo by lenyvavsha

15. Kek Lapis Sarawak

Kek lapis sarawak literally means “Sarawak layer cake”. One look at these colorful layered cakes from Sarawak state and it becomes obvious how they get their name.

Like a few of the desserts on this list, kek lapis sarawak are traditionally made to celebrate special occasions and festivals like Eid ul-Fitr, Deepavali, and Gawai. They often consist of multiple colorful layers and patterns that range from the simple to the elaborate. It’s a meticulous process that requires baking each layer first before putting them all together to form the cake.

Kek lapis sarawak has enjoyed Geographical Indication status since 2010. What this means is that for a Malaysian layered cake to carry the “kek lapis sarawak” label, it needs to be made in Sarawak following the specifications of the Sarawak Layer Cake Manufacturers Association.

Photo by [email protected]

16. Kek Batik

As you may have noticed from the last dessert, kek means “cake” in Malaysian so kek batik literally means “batik cake”. It’s a type of Malaysian no-bake cake that gets its name from the batik-like pattern formed by broken Marie biscuits.

Kek batik is believed to be an adaptation of the tiffin cake using Malaysian ingredients. It’s a simple cake to make – fudge and biscuits are mixed together and then chilled until set.

Kek batik is typically made with fudge but pictured below is a variation made with pandan called kek batik lumut (moss batik cake).

Photo by Najmi9590

17. Kuih Tepung Pelita

If you’re a fan of Thai khanom tako like I am, then you’ll probably enjoy this Malaysian version called kuih tepung pelita. It’s a similar double-layered Malaysian cake served in small, folded banana leaf boats.

Like the Thai version, tepung pelita consists of two layers of rice flour custard – the bottom layer flavored with pandan and the top mixed with thick coconut milk. It’s a smooth and creamy dessert that’s sweet but not too sweet.

Tepung pelita literally means “flour lamp”. The lamp in its name is in reference to a traditional oil lamp that’s said to resemble the dessert’s banana leaf container.

Photo by Aisyaqilumar

18. Kuih Seri Muka

Like tepung pelita, kuih seri muka refers to a double-layered Malaysian dessert made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, and pandan. The bottom layer is made with glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk while the top custard layer gets its green coloring and flavor from pandan juice.

Like many of the rice flour cakes on this list, kuih seri muka is a popular dessert snack in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei.

Photo by tehcheesiong

19. Kuih Lapis

Like kek lapis sarawak, kuih lapis gets its name from the many layers that comprise the dessert. Kuih lapis literally means “layer cake” and consists of two or more alternating colored layers of steamed rice flour pudding.

Bouncy and sticky in texture, the layers in kuih lapis are made with rice flour, coconut milk, tapioca flour, sugar, and salt. They get their brightly colored hues from food coloring.

Photo by tehcheesiong

20. Kuih Angku

Kuih angku is one of my favorite types of Malaysian kuih. Round or oval in shape, it’s an eye-catching type of kuih made with mashed sweet potato and glutinous rice flour filled with mung bean paste or sweetened ground peanuts.

Kuih angku is also known as “red tortoise cake”. Its shape is meant to resemble a tortoise shell because the tortoise is considered an auspicious symbol in Chinese culture. The Chinese believe that eating this cake brings good fortune and longevity so it’s often prepared to celebrate important festivals like Lunar New Year.

Aside from the fact that they taste good and have great texture, I like kuih angku because of their bright colors and intricate patterns. They’re made with molds that imprint elaborate designs on the cake’s skin before it’s steamed and served over a piece of banana leaf.

Photo by tehcheesiong

21. Pulut Tai Tai (Pulut Tekan)

Pulut tai tai is a type of kuih made with steamed glutinous rice. Glutinous rice is steamed in coconut milk and then pressed in a wooden frame, hence the dessert’s alternate name pulut tekan which means “pressed glutinous rice”. The dessert is sliced into the desired shapes and slathered with kaya before serving.

Interestingly, the term “tai tai” refers to a woman of leisure. It’s said that in the olden days, this Malaysian dessert was served only to the wives of rich men.

Photo by tehcheesiong

22. Kuih Dadar (Kuih Tayap)

These beautiful rolled crepes are known as kuih dadar or kuih tayap. They’re flavored with pandan juice and rolled around a filling of grated coconut steeped in palm sugar.

Nowadays, you can find kuih dadar made with artificial coloring but versions colored with pandan leaves are still the best. Not only do they look more natural, but they have that coconut-y, vanilla-like essence that you can only get from pandan.

Photo by tehcheesiong

23. Kuih Bingka Ubi Kayu

Kuih bingka ubi kayu is another Nyonya/Peranakan tea-time favorite made with tapioca, eggs, coconut milk, and pandan leaves. Soft and slightly chewy, it’s a fragrant Malaysian dessert that’s relatively easy to make.

Photo by tehcheesiong

24. Kuih Ondeh-Ondeh

Google “best malaysian desserts” and you’ll surely come across these green balls coated in grated coconut. Not surprising considering how delicious they are.

Ondeh-ondeh (or onde-onde) consist of sweet potato or glutinous rice flour dough flavored with pandan juice and filled with gula melaka (palm sugar). The ping-pong-sized balls are boiled and then rolled in grated coconut before serving.

Bite into these beauties while they’re still warm and a burst of palm sugar syrup erupts into your mouth. They’re so good and easily one of my favorite Malaysian desserts.

Photo by tehcheesiong

25. Kuih Kosui (Kuih Lompang)

Last on this list but certainly not least (especially to me), is kuih kosui. Also known as kuih lompang, it refers to a type of Malaysian steamed rice cake made with rice and tapioca flour flavored with pandan leaves and palm sugar.

If you’re familiar with Filipino kakanin, then you may recognize kuih kosui as the Malaysian equivalent to kutsinta. Kutsinta is one of my favorite Filipino snacks so it’s no surprise I have a soft spot for these bite-sized Malaysian cakes as well.

Like kutsinta, kuih kosui is typically enjoyed with a sprinkling of shredded coconut.

Photo by tehcheesiong


Exploring the many desserts and dishes of Malaysia on your own is always fun, but if you’re interested in learning more about the cuisine, then you may want to join a guided tour.

Not only can a knowledgeable local take you to the city’s best markets, restaurants, and street food stalls, but they’ll be able to explain all the dishes to you in more detail as well. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of food tours in Malaysia.


Food tours are awesome, but if you want to really dive into Malaysian cuisine, then you may want to take a cooking class as well. Eating kuih is one thing, but learning how to actually make it yourself is another. Check out Cookly for a list of cooking classes in Malaysia.


If you find yourself confused by the concept of “kuih”, then you’re not alone. I’m confused by it too. As described, Malaysian kuih is similar to Filipino kakanin but the former seems to be a broader term.

Kuih literally means “cake” but it can also refer to different types of cookies, biscuits, pudding, donuts, dumplings, and pastries. They can be sweet or savory and cooked through steaming, baking, frying, or boiling.

Is rice the unifying factor? It may have been at one point, but not anymore. While most types of kuih are made with rice or glutinous rice, some can be made with other types of grain as well.

In my research to understand kuih, I found this excellent kuih guide which likens them to Japanese wagashi. I had never heard that comparison before but it’s actually a great way of describing them. No matter how or what they’re made with, kuih are colorful, bite-sized, and often artfully prepared confections usually enjoyed with tea, just like wagashi.

In any case, whatever their exact definition may be, just know that they’re delicious and you need to eat them as often as you can while in Malaysia.


Some of the links in this article on Malaysian desserts are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you so much!

Cover photo by tehcheesiong. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Taiwanese Desserts: 15 Traditional Sweets You Need to Try in Taiwan

Taiwanese night markets are a major reason why we love visiting Taiwan. We’ve eaten our way through a night market in nearly every major city in Taiwan and the experience never disappoints. It’s like having your own street food degustation experience.

We start with things like curry fish balls and oyster omelettes before moving on to more substantial dishes like pepper buns and scallion pancakes. Ultimately, we end the night with Taiwanese dessert before rolling ourselves back to our hotel. It’s a gluttonous endeavor that happens almost every night in Taiwan.

You can check our Taiwanese food guide for suggestions on what night market staples to look for, but for Taiwanese desserts, you don’t need to go anywhere. In this article are fifteen of the most delicious desserts to stuff your face with in Taipei or in any other city in Taiwan.


If you’re visiting Taiwan and want to learn as much as possible about the cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Food Tours: Food and Drinking Tours in Taiwan
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Taiwan

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1. Douhua (Tofu Pudding)

There’s no better way to start this list of Taiwanese desserts than with douhua, a popular Chinese snack made with silken tofu. It’s an ancient Chinese dish that’s become widely consumed in many countries throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia like Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Douhua is short for doufuhua and can be either savory or sweet. It can be prepared in a number of ways depending on where it’s from, but in Taiwan, it’s typically made with very soft tofu and ginger or almond syrup. It’s often topped with other ingredients like tapioca balls, peanuts, red beans, mung beans, and fruit.

You can find tofu pudding pretty much anywhere in Taiwan. It’s a staple at night markets, public markets, and dessert shops. Like any great comfort food, it can be eaten at any time of the day. It can be served cold or hot but personally, I enjoy it most as a hot breakfast dish or dessert snack.

Photo by elwynn

2. Aiyu Jelly

Aiyu jelly is a type of Taiwanese jelly made from the seeds of the awkeotsang creeping fig. It’s a plant that’s endemic to Taiwan and parts of southeastern China. When combined with water and rubbed, the seeds produce a yellowish gel that sets into a jelly when cooled in the refrigerator.

Aiyu jelly is often used as an ingredient in bubble tea or shaved ice desserts. It has a neutral taste and fun bouncy texture that’s similar to grass jelly or boba. When eaten on its own, it’s usually served over ice cubes and flavored with lime or lemon juice, honey, or some other type of sweetener.

Photo by lcc54613

3. Bao Bing (Shaved Ice)

When you visit any major city in Taiwan, you shouldn’t have trouble finding shops selling shaved ice desserts. Known locally as bao bing, it’s one of the most refreshing and popular Taiwanese desserts.

Taiwanese bao bing is very similar to Korean bingsu except the shaved ice is more ribbon-like than flaky. There’s also a greater emphasis on fruit toppings which I prefer. Mango bao bing (pictured below) is amazingly delicious and something I find myself always ordering at Taiwanese dessert shops.

Bao bing in Taiwan is typically made with ribbons of finely shaved ice sweetened with condensed milk. You can enjoy it with a variety of toppings like seasonal fruits, ice cream, azuki beans, sweet potato chunks, aiyu jelly, and grass jelly.

Photo by Shawn.ccf

Mango bao bing is the bomb but so is bao bing topped with boba. The texture of the chewy tapioca balls with ice cream and finely shaved ice is to die for.

Photo by elwynn

4. Tang Yuan

Tang yuan is another traditional Chinese dessert that’s consumed in many parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia like Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They’re made with glutinous rice dough that’s shaped into balls and served in some type of flavored hot syrup.

Tang Yuan can vary greatly in size. They can be the size of ping pong balls or smaller like marbles. They can be filled or unfilled, with some of the most traditional fillings being azuki bean paste, sweetened crushed peanuts, lotus seed paste, and sweet sesame.

In recent years, tang yuan in Taiwan is being made with trendier fillings like brown sugar, peanut butter, salted egg, and strawberry condensed milk.

Photo by [email protected]

Tang yuan is an important festival food that’s traditionally eaten during festivals and celebrations like the Lantern Festival and Chinese New Year. In Taiwan, it’s one of the main dishes prepared to celebrate the Dongzhi or Winter Solstice Festival.

Photo by [email protected]

5. Taro Balls

As its name suggests, taro balls refer to a popular Taiwanese dessert soup featuring chewy taro and sweet potato balls. They’re popular throughout Taiwan but especially in the former mining town of Jiufen.

Taro balls can be served hot or cold. Order a cup in Jiufen and you’ll be served a multi-colored mix of taro balls, sweet potato balls, green tea balls, and kidney beans.

6. Honey Castella Sponge Cake

Honey castella sponge cake is a soft and bouncy cake from Taiwan. It’s essentially the Taiwanese version of Japanese castella cake, a specialty of Nagasaki that was introduced to Japan by Portuguese traders in the 16th century.

The Japanese and Taiwanese versions of castella cake are similar except the latter is made with all-purpose flour, baking powder, and an SP emulsifier. It’s also enriched with honey unlike the Japanese version which is traditionally made with bread flour and no other sweeteners except sugar (though this is no longer the case).

Taiwanese honey castella cake is light, moist, and buttery with a light sweetness derived from honey. If you like sponge cake, then you need to try this dessert in Taiwan.

Photo by Mam_elisa

7. Sweet Potato Balls

Visit any night market in Taiwan and you’ll find street food stalls with the letters QQ on their sign. This is the Taiwanese term for snacks with a chewy and bouncy texture. It comes from the Minnan word khiu which means “soft, springy, or elastic”. It’s a term that can be used to describe the texture of tapioca pearls and taro balls.

Taiwanese people love these bouncy snacks and so do I, one of my favorites being these sweet potato balls. They’re basically puffed-up balls made with mashed and fried sweet potato, taro, or a combination of both. They’re delicious and so much fun to eat.

8. Wheel Cake

The wheel cake is another popular Taiwanese dessert originally from Japan. It’s basically the Taiwanese version of imagawayaki, a Japanese pancake-like dessert made with a variety of fillings.

Traditionally, wheel cakes were filled with azuki bean paste but they’re now made with a variety of sweet and savory fillings like chocolate, vanilla custard, fruit, corn, egg, and curry. Cooked in disk-shaped cast-iron molds, they’re a common sight at night markets throughout Taiwan.

9. Tanghulu

Like sweet potato balls and wheel cakes, these hard-to-miss skewers of candied fruit are staples at Taiwanese night markets. Known locally as “tanghulu”, these glossy sweet treats are made with skewered fruit dipped in sugar syrup. After drying, the syrup hardens to form a sticky sweet candy coating.

Tanghulu can be made with different types of fruit but at Taiwanese night markets, the most common are made with whole strawberries or cherry tomatoes stuffed with dried plum.

As you’d expect, the sugar syrup coating is cloyingly sweet but biting into the fruit gives you a nice burst of acidity that helps temper the sweetness of the syrup.

10. Mochi

If you’re a fan of Japanese mochi, then you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s become a popular dessert or snack in Taiwan as well.

Mochi refers to soft chewy cakes made with glutinous rice flour. They can be made in different ways but in Taiwan, they’re often stuffed with bean paste fillings and coated in peanut powder.

Photo by luknaja

Like most foreigners, I’m accustomed to seeing stuffed mochi balls but at a night market in Hualien, we got to try this interesting grilled version.

The skewered mochi was shaped like a block and heated on a grill before being dusted with peanut powder and served with our choice of sweet sauce. Very interesting.

11. Pineapple Cake (Traditional Dessert Souvenir)

We rarely bring home souvenirs from trips, unless we can eat them. In Taiwan, these delicious pineapple cakes are among the most popular souvenir food items you can buy. They’re Taiwanese pastries made with eggs, butter, flour, sugar, and pineapple jam.

Aside from being delicious, this buttery pastry is popular in Taiwan because the pineapple is considered an auspicious symbol. In Taiwanese Hokkien, the word for pineapple is ong lai which sounds similar to a phrase for “incoming fortune”.

If you visit Taichung, then be sure to make a stop at Miyahara. They’re famous for their pineapple cakes and package them well in beautifully designed boxes.

Photo by PantherMediaSeller

12. Sun Cake

Like pineapple cakes, sun cakes are a popular souvenir food item you can bring back from Taiwan. Originally from Taichung, they refer to round and flaky maltose-filled pastries that are often consumed with hot Chinese tea.

13. White Nougat

White nougat refers to a family of chewy confections made with whipped egg whites, sugar or honey, and roasted nuts. It’s a popular candy or snack in many countries around the world where it goes by different names like turron (Spain), mandolato (Greece), qubbajt (Malta), and alviță (Romania).

Taiwanese nougat is a little different from versions you’ll find in other countries because it’s made with additional ingredients like milk powder and dried fruit.

14. Boba (Bubble Tea)

Boba is the most iconic dessert drink in Taiwan. Also known as bubble tea, it refers to a family of tea-based drinks that was invented in Taiwan sometime in the early 90s. Today, it’s become one of the most well-known Asian drinks and is consumed in many countries around the world.

At its most basic, boba is a tea-based drink made with either black, green, or oolong tea mixed with milk or fruit juice. It can be made with different types of milk like condensed milk, powdered milk, soy milk, or almond milk. It can be served cold or hot with a dizzying number of add-ons like tapioca pearls, pudding, and fruit jellies. You can even specify your desired level of sweetness.

Boba in Taiwan is fun but it can also be very confusing, which is why I prefer to go with the classic pearl milk tea. It’s made with black tea, milk, tapioca pearls, and sugar. It’s the original version and still the most popular. I suggest trying versions made with brown sugar as well.

Fans of boba will have another reason to visit Taichung. The original Chun Shui Tang shop – the successful teahouse chain credited for inventing pearl milk tea – is located in Taichung.

Photo by elwynn

15. Cheese Tea

Cheese tea is another fun and interesting Taiwanese tea-based drink. Similar to boba, it’s made with a base of green or black tea topped with a frothy cap of cream cheese, whipping cream, milk, and salt.

Drinking tea with a foamy mixture of cream cheese may sound weird at first but give it a sip and it may win you over. The combination of the cold, somewhat bitter tea with the sweet, salty, sharp-tasting cheese foam actually works.

Unlike boba which can be served cold or hot, cheese tea is always consumed with ice and never with a straw. You’re meant to drink it from the rim of the cup so you get a mix of tea and cheese foam with every sip.

Cheese tea was invented in Taiwan sometime around 2010. It’s become popular in many parts of Asia but has yet to catch on globally like its more famous cousin boba.

Photo by civil


Eating your way through any city is fun, but if you want to learn more about the local cuisine, then you may want to join a food tour.

Simply put, no one knows Taiwanese food better than a local. Not only can a food-obsessed guide take you to the city’s best restaurants and night market stalls, but they can explain all the dishes to you in more detail as well. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of guided food tours in Taiwan.


Food tours are great for finding the best examples of local dishes. But if you want to really dive into the local cuisine, then you may want to take a cooking class. Eating xiao long bao is one thing, but learning how to actually make it is another. Check out Cookly for a list of cooking classes in Taiwan.


If you visit Taiwan around September or October, then another Taiwanese dessert you may want to try is the moon cake. Moon cakes are consumed to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Chinese communities throughout Asia.

Many people are familiar with Cantonese-style moon cakes but in Taiwan, you should try the traditional style of Taiwanese moon cake as well. Lighter in color and more bun-like in shape, they consist of flaky layers stuffed with a variety of sweet and savory fillings. The most popular version is filled with mung bean paste, braised minced meat, and fried shallots.

This version of moon cake looks and sounds delicious. According to one description, “this moon cake style looks deceptively simple, yet is known to be one of the most difficult to make.” We’re all about interesting food and that description piqued my curiosity.

We haven’t tried it ourselves but it’s definitely something we’ll look for should we ever visit Taiwan at that time of year.


Some of the links in this article on Taiwanese desserts are affiliate links, meaning we’ll make a small commission if we make a qualifying sale at no additional expense to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by PantherMediaSeller. Stock images via Depositphotos.

40 Delicious Types of Donuts From Around the World That You Need to Try

Everyone loves doughnuts. Even when you’re watching your waistline, it’s hard to resist these soft, pillowy, deep-fried rings of doughy goodness. As far as I know, doughnuts in some form exist in every culture and there’s a simple reason for that. They’re effing delicious.

We’ve enjoyed different types of donuts from many countries around the world and as far as I can remember, I’ve never bitten into a donut I didn’t like. It’s a universally beloved comfort food, one that never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces. Even hearing the word “donut” makes me happy.

So in the spirit of bringing good cheer to people reading this blog, I’ve put together this list of the most delicious types of donuts from around the world. From the classic jelly donut to chewy pon de ring in Japan, this list will give you forty reasons to smile.

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If someone asks you to draw a donut (or doughnut), then you’d probably sketch something that looks like a ring. A sweet ring of fried dough is usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of donuts. It’s the most common type but it’s hardly the only one.

While donuts are indeed made with deep-fried dough, they aren’t always shaped like rings nor do they have to be sweet. They can be savory like Ukrainian pampushky and Indian vada or shaped like ridged cigars like Spanish churros.

Donuts filled with fruit preserves are as common as ring-shaped varieties while small spheres of fried dough are referred to as drop donuts or donut holes. Donuts are commonly made with flour dough though they can be made with other types of batter as well.

In summary, donuts are deep-fried pastries that can be made in a seemingly endless variety of shapes, sizes, flavors, and fillings.


In this section, we’ll talk briefly about some of the most common types of batter used to make donuts.

Yeast Donut

As its name suggests, yeast donuts are made from dough leavened with yeast. They’re light, puffy, a little chewy, yeasty, and with little to no sweetness. Yeast donuts typically get their flavor from the glaze, filling, or sugar coating.

Photo by bhofack2

Cake Donuts

Cake donuts are made from a cake batter that uses a chemical leavener like baking soda or baking powder. They’re much denser and more cake-like in texture than yeast donuts. They have a more compact crumb and tend to stick to the roof of your mouth when eaten.

Flavor-wise, a cake donut is richer and more buttery thanks to the large amount of butter that usually goes into the batter.

Photo by bhofack2

Potato Donut

Potato donuts are made with the same ingredients as yeast donuts, except all or most of the flour is replaced by mashed potatoes or potato starch. They tend to be even lighter and airier than regular yeast donuts.

Photo by [email protected]

Mochi Donut

The mochi donut is a type of Japanese-American cake donut made with either glutinous rice (mochi) flour or tapioca starch. They’re lighter and stretchier in texture than regular cake donuts and can be either fried or baked.

Because they can be made without all-purpose flour, mochi donuts are also gluten-free and can be viewed as a healthier alternative to cake or yeast donuts.

Photo by catinsyrup

Vegan Donut

A vegan donut refers to any type of donut made without animal byproducts. Soy, almond, or coconut milk is used instead of cow’s milk while eggs are substituted with a powdered egg replacer or eliminated altogether.

Careful thought is also given to the toppings and fillings. Alternate sugars (turbinado, beet, raw) are often used instead of refined sugar as the latter can sometimes be processed with animal bone char to remove impurities.

Photo by Millenn


Donuts can be made in a multitude of shapes. You could twist a piece of fried dough into a unicorn and it would still be a donut.

Unicorn-shaped donuts are rare but here are some of the most common.

Ring Donuts

As described, ring-shaped donuts are usually what many of us think of when we think of donuts. They’re typically made by either joining the ends of a long piece of dough, or using a donut cutter to cut out donut shapes from a large sheet of dough.

Photo by fotek

Filled Donuts

Filled donuts like jelly donuts are just as popular as ring-shaped donuts, especially in parts of Europe. They’re made by injecting fruit preserves, vanilla custard, cream, and other ingredients into hole-less spheres of fried dough.

The jelly donut is perhaps the most well-known but Bavarian cream donuts are also popular. When I walk into Dunkin donut shops, I usually make a beeline for the Bavarian.

Photo by tupungato

Donut Holes

Donut holes are bite-sized spheres of fried dough cut from the center of ring donuts. Like ring or filled donuts, they can be topped with various glazes or injected with fillings like fruit preserves and custard.

Photo by bhofack2

Drop Donuts

Drop donuts are similar to donut holes but instead of being taken from the center of ring donuts, they’re made by dropping globs of batter directly into the fryer. They tend to be more irregular in shape than donut holes.

Photo by OlgaIlinich


Crullers are donuts that look like they’ve been twisted or braided. The term cruller can refer to two types of donuts – stick-shaped cinnamon twist donuts and French crullers (pictured below). French crullers are incredibly light and airy donuts made with choux pastry piped into fluted rings.

Photo by bhofack2


To make this list of donuts easier to digest, I’ve broken it down by continent. Clink on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. North America
  2. South America
  3. Europe
  4. Asia
  5. Africa
  6. Oceania


1. Glazed Donut (USA)

Two words – Krispy Kreme. This iconic American donut brand makes an amazing lineup of donuts but in my opinion, their classic glazed donut is still the best.

Glazed donuts are topped with a variety of different glazes made from a base of milk, sugar, and vanilla or cocoa powder. Other flavorings may be added to the glaze like chocolate, maple syrup, strawberry, or matcha.

Donuts are dipped into the glaze and left to cool on a rack. While still wet, they can be topped with other ingredients like candy sprinkles and sugar that bind to the glaze.

Photo by bhofack2

2. Boston Cream Donut (USA)

In many countries around the world, Dunkin Donuts is still king. Like many people, I grew up with this iconic American brand and always gravitated to three flavors – jelly donuts, Bavarian cream donuts, and Boston cream donuts.

The Boston cream donut is essentially the donut version of the Boston cream pie, a popular cake topped with chocolate glaze and filled with vanilla custard. Both desserts have become state symbols of Massachusetts.

Boston cream pie was declared the official dessert of Massachusetts in 1996 while the Boston cream donut was named the state’s official donut in 2003.

Photo by littleny

3. Sour Cream Donut

The sour cream doughnut is a type of cake donut popular mainly in the US. Also known as “old-fashioned donuts”, they’re made with sour cream incorporated into the cake batter.

The sour cream donut is known for its irregular shape and porous surface. It has a crisper texture than other cake donuts and is typically dipped in glaze or coated in powdered sugar.

Photo by Arnold Gatilao, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

4. Cronut (French-American)

The cronut is a fairly recent creation that set the internet on fire not too long ago. Created by French baker Dominique Ansel, it’s an interesting croissant-donut hybrid that resembles a donut but is made with croissant-like dough. The pastries are fried in grapeseed oil and can be filled or unfilled.

The cronut debuted at Ansel’s bakery in SoHo, New York in 2013. It exploded in popularity almost immediately and was named one of the best “extremely fun” inventions of 2013 by Time magazine.

Photo by fotopitu


5. Picarones (Peru)

Picarones are Peruvian doughnuts made with squash and sweet potato. Coated in chancaca syrup (molasses), they’re a popular street food snack in Peru often served with anticuchos (skewered meat dishes).

Picarones were said to have been invented during the colonial period to replace Spanish buñuelos. At the time, buñuelos were too expensive to make so people substituted some of the traditional ingredients with squash and potato to make it more accessible.

Photo by asimojet

6. Sonhos (Brazil)

The sonho is a type of filled donut popular in Brazil. It’s very similar to the German berliner (#13) except it’s typically filled with confectioner’s cream instead of the marmalade or jam favored in Germany.

Unlike the berliner and other types of filled donuts, sonhos aren’t injected with filling. They’re sliced in half and slathered with a generous amount of cream before being dusted with powdered sugar and eaten like a sandwich. In Portuguese, sonho means “dream”.

It’s unclear how sonhos arrived in Brazil. Some say it was by way of the Portuguese while others credit German immigrants for introducing this dreamy donut to Brazil.

Photo by agphotography


7. Churros (Spain)

If you’ve been a long-time fan of churros but have never thought of them as a type of donut, then you’re not alone. Churros are one of the most popular Spanish desserts but due to their shape, many people don’t think of them as donuts, but they absolutely are.

Churros are deep-fried pastries that are typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack with hot chocolate or cafe con leche. They have a ridged surface and can be straight, curled, or spiral in shape.

Photo by joannawnuk

Churros are equally popular in former Spanish colonies. In Spain, they’re typically served plain but in other countries like Mexico, they’re often dusted with cinnamon sugar. They can also be stuffed with various fillings like chocolate, cajeta (dulce de leche), or rompope (Mexican eggnog).

Photo by gabrielpazph

8. Rosquillas (Spain)

Rosquillas are another type of donut popular in Spain. They’re very similar to churros except they’re shaped like rings.

Smaller than American donuts, rosquillas are typically served dusted with powdered sugar or dipped in a chocolate glaze.

Photo by alga38

9. Malasadas (Portugal)

If you’ve been to Hawaii, then you may be familiar with malasadas. They’re a type of Portuguese yeast donut flavored with lemon zest and coated with cinnamon sugar. Portuguese malasadas are typically hole-less and served without a filling, but Hawaiian versions usually contain some type of filling like custard, chocolate, coconut, or guava.

Malasadas were introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese laborers who arrived in the late 19th century to work in the plantations. They brought some of their traditional Portuguese foods with them, including malasadas, which would later become integrated into local Hawaiian cuisine.

Photo by Wirestock

10. Zeppole (Italy)

Zeppole are small Italian donuts that are typically prepared to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day. Like French crullers, they’re made with light and airy choux pastry dough that can be dropped into the fryer using a teaspoon or piped in using a funnel.

Zeppole are usually dusted with powdered sugar and can be filled with various ingredients like custard, jelly, and pastry cream. Like sonhos, they’re sliced in half and slathered with filling with an extra helping piped in through the top.

Photo by OlgaBombologna

11. Bomboloni (Italy)

Just saying this donut’s name is making me gesture in the Italian way. “Bomboloni!”

Traditionally associated with Tuscany, bomboloni are Italian yeasted doughnuts rolled in sugar and filled with pastry cream (crema pasticciera). Bombolone is derived from the word bomba, meaning “bomb”, and is perhaps in reference to the round, bomb-like shape of the donut.

Photo by yalcinsonat1

12. Beignet (France)

The beignet is a type of donut popular in French and French-American cuisines. They’re traditionally made with choux pastry though they can be made with other types of dough as well.

Depending on where you’re from, you may know beignets as these square pastries heavily dusted with powdered sugar. Popular in New Orleans, this type of beignet is made with leavened dough instead of choux pastry. They’re commonly eaten for breakfast or dessert, usually with some hot chocolate or cafe au lait.

Beignets are said to have been brought to the US by French settlers who first moved to the Acadia region of Canada in the 17th century. Many Acadians would later move to Louisiana and bring the beignet with them.

Photo by katkami

Beignets are typically made from choux pastry though it isn’t uncommon to find more cake-like beignets in France. Round or oval in shape, they’re often referred to as “boules de Berlin” because they’re made with a similar dough as German berliners.

Photo by [email protected]

13. Berliner (Germany)

The berliner is a popular type of filled donut from Germany. It’s made from yeast dough fried in fat or oil and injected with a jam or marmalade filling. It’s basically the German version of a jelly donut.

Berliners were traditionally made to usher in the New Year or to celebrate carnival holidays, but they’re now widely available throughout the year.

Photo by HandmadePicture

14. Oliebollen (The Netherlands)

Oliebollen are Dutch and Belgian versions of the beignet. It’s a type of drop donut made with yeasted dough, raisins, currants, and other dried fruits. Traditionally eaten to usher in the new year, they’re light and fluffy donuts drizzled with a generous amount of icing sugar.

Photo by joophoek

15. Loukoumades (Greece)

Loukoumades refers to another type of drop donut, this time from Greece. They’re commonly shaped into balls though they can be made into rings as well. These light and fluffy donuts are equally popular in Turkey and in the Arab world, where they’re known as lokma and luqaimat respectively.

Loukoumades are a popular street food in Greece where they’re often served with honey, cinnamon, and finely chopped walnuts.

Photo by dinosmichail

16. Krafne (The Balkans)

Krafne is basically the Balkan version of the German berliner. Depending on which country it’s from, it can be referred to in slightly different names like krofne (Croatia, Albania) or krofi (Macedonia).

Like berliners, krafne are typically filled with jam or marmalade.

Photo by bhofack2

17. Farsangi Fank (Hungary)

Farsangi fank are light and airy Hungarian donuts. Meaning “carnival donuts”, they’re typically made to celebrate the Carnival season in Hungary – a 6-day celebration that ends on the day before Ash Wednesday.

Farsangi fank are yeasted donuts lightly seasoned with rum and lemon zest. They aren’t injected with filling but they’re often served with a dollop of jam, usually apricot or raspberry, spooned into an indentation made on the top of the donut.

Photo by accept001

18. Spurgos (Lithuania)

Spurgos are light and airy Lithuanian donuts made with curd cheese (quark). Shaped into small round balls, they aren’t made with yeast but instead get their lift from a combination of whisked egg and baking powder.

Photo by fotosenukas

19. Paczki (Poland)

Paczki refers to a type of filled donut from Poland. They resemble German berliners though they’re made using a richer dough containing eggs, fat, yeast, sugar, and sometimes milk.

Polish donuts are injected with different types of fruit preserves and other sweet fillings before being coated in a glaze or dusted with powdered sugar. It’s also common to find them topped with small bits of dried orange zest.

Photo by bhofack2

20. Ponchiki (Russia)

Ponchiki are basically Russian donut holes made with farmer’s cheese and very little flour. Crispy on the outside, the cheese in the recipe results in a soft, slightly moist interior with little pockets of curd cheese flavor.

Photo by alisafarov

21. Pampushky (Ukraine)

As described at the top of this article, a piece of fried dough doesn’t have to be sweet to be considered a donut. The pampushka – a Ukrainian donut that can be savory or sweet – is an example of that.

Pampushky are small yeast donuts that can be made from wheat, rye, or buckwheat flour. They’re traditionally baked but they can also be fried.

Savory pampushky are usually seasoned with garlic sauce and served as a side dish to Ukrainian dishes like borscht. When made into a dessert, it’s often filled with fruit preserves and dusted with powdered sugar.

Photo by NewAfrica


22. Matcha (Japan)

If you ever visit Kyoto in Japan, one ingredient you’ll be seeing a lot of is matcha. It refers to the finely ground powder made from processed green tea leaves.

Matcha is an integral part of Japanese tea culture but it’s also used as an ingredient in a plethora of Japanese dishes like cakes, candies, pastries, and my personal favorite – soft cream (soft serve ice cream).

Being a versatile ingredient, it can be used as a flavoring for donut glazes and toppings as well.

Photo by bhofack2

23. Sata Andagi (Japan)

Sata andagi are drop donuts from Okinawa. They’re native to southern China but they’ve become a staple in Okinawan and Hawaiian cuisines.

Sata andagi are made with a batter consisting of flour, eggs, and sugar mixed into ping-pong-sized balls and then deep-fried. They have a crisp crust and a moist cake-like interior that’s closer in texture to cake donuts than yeast donuts.

In Okinawan, saataa means “sugar” while andaagii means “deep-fried”.

Photo by sai0112

24. Mochi (Japan)

Mochi donuts are among my favorite types of donuts. They have a chewy, mochi-like texture that’s unlike any other type of donut.

As described, mochi donuts are a type of Japanese donut made with either mochi flour or tapioca starch. They were initially popularized by the Japanese donut chain Mister Donut under the brand name “Pon de Ring”. They consist of eight little balls connected together to form a ring.

I had always assumed that mochi donuts were invented by Mister Donut but as it turns out, they may have been invented in Hawaii as a fusion of mashed taro and rice cake. I haven’t tried the Hawaiian version of a mochi donut but based on what I’ve read, it’s quite different from Pon de Ring.

Unlike the soft and bouncy version from Mister Donut, Hawaiian butter mochi donuts are baked rather than fried and have a gooier, denser texture similar to butter cake.

Photo by sai0112

BONUS: Sushi Donuts (Japanese-American)

Ok, so these aren’t really donuts, but they’re just too pretty not to include so I’ve added them here as a bonus.

Sushi donuts are artful presentations of raw fish, seafood, and vegetables served over rings of sushi rice. They’re the brainchild of Project Poke in Orange County, California and debuted sometime in 2016. Pretty right?

Never thought I’d be saying “sushi” and “donut” in the same sentence but here we are. Thank you Instagram.

Photo by sokor

25. Youtiao (China)

Youtiao are among the most well-known types of donuts from Asia. Also known as Chinese crullers, they’re long breadstick-like donuts that can be eaten plain with savory breakfast dishes or as a sweetened dessert.

Youtiao are originally from China but they’re consumed in many countries throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia like Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many ways.

Youtiao can be dipped into savory and sweet liquids, wrapped in rice noodle rolls, used as a stuffing in flatbread, and more.

Photo by sokor

26. Jiandui (China)

Growing up in Asia, we always looked forward to these red-bean-filled sesame balls at Chinese restaurants. I never thought of them as donuts but you can say that they are. By definition, jiandui or Chinese sesame balls are essentially a type of filled drop donut.

Jiandui are Chinese pastries made with glutinous rice flour. About the size of ping pong balls, they’re coated with sesame seeds and usually filled with either red bean paste or lotus paste. Like youtiao, they’re popular in many parts of Asia like Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Photo by

27. Shuangbaotai (Taiwan)

These oddly-shaped Taiwanese donuts are known as shuangbaotai. Also referred to as “horse hooves” thanks to their unusual appearance, they’re made by twisting two pieces of dough together before frying them. While frying, they puff up and separate slightly while still staying together.

I’ve never actually seen these in Taiwan but shuangbaotai are said to be available at Taiwanese night markets.

Photo by lcc54613

28. Noum Kong (Cambodia)

Visit any market in Cambodia and you’re sure to find vendors frying up these delicious donuts known as noum kong. Dipped in a glaze of liquified palm sugar and coated in sesame seeds, they have a crisp exterior and a soft, mochi-like interior thanks to the use of sticky rice flour in the batter.

Photo by Stockcrafter

29. Donat Kentang (Indonesia)

If you like spudnuts, then you need to try donat kentang on your next visit to Indonesia. It refers to the light and fluffy Indonesian version of potato donuts. Donat kentang, in Bahasa, literally means “potato donuts”.

Photo by [email protected]

30. Shakoy (The Philippines)

I grew up around these twisted pieces of fried dough in the Philippines but I never thought of them as donuts. As a kid, you think of donuts as rings so it never occurred to me that shakoy was in fact a type of Filipino donut.

Also known as lubid-lubid (“ropes”), shakoy is a twisted, stick-like Filipino donut that’s commonly found at local bakeries.

Photo by myviewpoint

31. Pa Thong Ko (Thailand)

Pa thong ko refers to the Thai version of Chinese youtiao. It’s typically eaten for breakfast with jok (congee), or as a dessert snack with sweet dips like condensed milk or pandan custard.

If you ever visit Bangkok, then be sure to look for the Michelin-recommended pa thong ko stall in Chinatown. Pa thong ko is delicious enough on its own but a Michelin-recommended Thai donut? Aroi!

Photo by birchphotographer

32. Vada (India)

Vadas are another great example of a savory type of donut. It refers to a family of deep-fried Indian dishes made with batter using different ingredients like chickpeas, potatoes, mung beans, and sago. They’re commonly enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack, often with chutneys and sambar and as part of other dishes like vada pav and dahi vadas.

Vadas are an important part of Indian cuisine and can be prepared in a number of ways. One of the most popular is medu vada (pictured below). It’s made with black gram and shaped like ring donuts.

Photo by asimojet

33. Gulgule (India)

Gulgule are sweet north Indian donuts made from whole wheat flour, jaggery, and fennel seeds. Crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, they’re a favorite snack to enjoy with hot Indian tea.

Photo by Mitrarudra

34. Sel Roti (Nepal)

Sel roti refers to a type of ring-shaped Nepalese donut deep-fried in oil or ghee. It’s made from rice flour, milk, butter, and sugar mixed with other flavorings like cardamom and cloves.

Sel roti is an important dish in Nepalese culture and cuisine. It’s a festival food that’s typically prepared to celebrate Hindu festivals like Dashain and Tihar.

Photo by Idealnabraj

35. Tulumba (Turkey)

Tulumba refers to Turkish donuts made from fried unleavened dough soaked in sweet, aromatic syrup. They’re very similar to jalebi but they look like short fat churros. Like Spanish churros, they get their ridges from being piped through a pastry bag with a star-shaped nozzle.

Tulumba is originally from Turkey though it’s become common in the cuisines of many countries throughout the Balkans and the Middle East like Greece, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iran.

Photo by asimojet

36. Sufganiyot (Israel)

Sufganiyot are filled Israeli donuts typically prepared to celebrate Hanukkah. Like berliners, paczki, or krafne, they’re filled with either jam or custard and given a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

Photo by lucidwaters


37. Sfenj (Morocco)

Sfenj refers to a type of Maghrebi donut commonly consumed in Morocco. It’s a light and spongy donut that’s typically eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with tea or coffee. It can be served plain, soaked in honey, or sprinkled in sugar.

Sfenj donuts are a popular street food in Morocco but they’re also common in other North African countries like Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. In Libya, they’re known as sfinz while in Tunisia, they’re referred to as bambalouni.

Photo by luaeva

38. Koeksister (South Africa)

Koesister refers to another type of braided or twisted donut, this time from South Africa. It’s coated in a sticky-sweet syrup and has a crunchy crust with a soft syrupy interior.

Photo by Wirestock

39. Vetkoek (South Africa)

Vetkoek is another type of donut that can be sweet or savory. Meaning “fat cake” in Afrikaans, it’s a popular South African street food dish that can be eaten with syrup, jam, or honey or sliced open and stuffed with a variety of different ingredients like ground meat, tuna, chicken with mayo, and cheese.

Photo by AninkaBongersSutherland

Vetkoek can basically be used as a vessel for any type of filling but the most popular is curried minced beef. Known as “curry bunnies”, these tasty donut sandwiches are a common sight at street food stalls and fast food shops throughout South Africa.

Photo by AninkaBongersSutherland


40. Hot Jam Doughnuts (Australia)

Australian hot jam doughnuts are an interesting take on berliners. Unlike other types of jelly donuts that are eaten at room temperature, hot jam donuts are always eaten hot. The balls of yeasted dough are filled with jam before being tossed in the fryer.

Hot Jam doughnuts are a Melbourne creation where they’re also known as Melbourners. Dusted with icing sugar immediately after frying, they’re designed to be eaten fresh and hot.

Photo by lucidwaters


Like ice cream flavors, new types of donuts and donut flavors are being created everyday. Just walk into any innovative donut shop like Voodoo Doughnut and you’ll find an endless variety of donuts topped with oddball ingredients like bubble gum dust and Cap’n Crunch cereal.

Donuts topped with whole pieces of bubble gum may be too extreme for me but one flavor that I would love to try is the maple bacon donut. Maple frosting with crunchy bits of bacon sounds like a match made in salty-sweet heaven.

Lastly, when doing research for this article, I came across another type of donut that I’ve never heard of before – the Pershing. Also known as a “Persian roll“, it looks like a cinnamon roll but it’s deep-fried like a donut.

So many types of donuts, so little time.

Cover photo by bhofack2. Stock images via Depositphotos.

New Zealand Food Guide: 15 Traditional Kiwi Foods to Look For

My sister is married to a Kiwi. Each year, she and my brother-in-law would spend time at his family home in Christchurch. On some years, they’d rent a campervan and take to the road to explore the boundless natural beauty of New Zealand’s South Island.

Of all my sister’s stories, the one that resonates with me most has to do with salmon. On their drive down to Queenstown, they make it a point to stop at this one salmon farm that serves the freshest salmon sashimi. They enjoy it so much they wind up buying whole salmon to take with them on the trip. In my sister’s words, the salmon is so fresh it literally dissolves on your tongue like butter.

That, for me, is what New Zealand food is all about – the freshest food produced locally, prepared simply, and enjoyed in the most pristine settings. This is pretty much what you can expect from the food in New Zealand.

With the help of my brother-in-law Jeremy, I’ve compiled this list of fifteen dishes and drinks to look forward to on your next trip to New Zealand. Kia mākona!


If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand and want to really learn about Kiwi cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a New Zealand food or wine tour.


  • New Zealand Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in New Zealand

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As an island nation in the South Pacific, traditional New Zealand cooking relies heavily on seasonal local produce. It’s primarily an agricultural economy that derives its food from both land and sea.

Similar to Australia, the food in New Zealand can be described as a British-based cuisine with Pacific Rim and Mediterranean influences. In particular, Māori traditions have played a significant role in shaping the New Zealand diet.

When indigenous Māori migrated to New Zealand, they brought with them food products and cooking techniques like kūmara (sweet potato), taro, hue (calabash), and hāngi (pit cooking). Many of these ingredients, most notably kūmara and hāngi, have become important parts of New Zealand food culture.

When the first Europeans arrived in the late 18th century, they in turn brought their own foods which were incorporated into the local cuisine. Pork and potatoes were well-received, as were mutton, pumpkin, wheat, sugar, and fruits.

But the biggest European influence on New Zealand food came by way of British settlers who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century. Wanting a taste of home, they used local ingredients to replicate dishes from their homeland. To this day, British-based dishes like mince pie, colonial goose, and fish and chips remain important parts of the local cuisine.


1. Marmite

I thought I’d kick off this article on New Zealand foods with Marmite, arguably the most polarizing dish on this list. New Zealanders like my brother-in-law love it but to foreigners, it’s very much an acquired taste.

Similar to British Marmite and Australian Vegemite, Marmite is a branded, yeast-based food spread produced by the Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company in New Zealand. It’s a by-product of the beer brewing process that’s known for its intense salty-sour flavor. Some people have described its taste as being reminiscent of old engine oil and I can’t say I don’t understand them.

Like caviar, beer, or stinky tofu, Marmite may shock your senses when you first take a bite but eat it enough and you may develop a taste for it. My brother-in-law Jeremy can’t understand why some people don’t like it. Ha!

Photo by richardmlee

2. Mince Pie

As described, mince pie is one of the most popular examples of the British influence on New Zealand’s cuisine. Also known as a meat pie, it refers to a palm-sized pastry made with minced meat, gravy, and other ingredients like mushrooms, onions, cheese, and tomato sauce.

Mince pies are an iconic New Zealand dish that’s equally popular in Australia. It’s eaten primarily as a takeaway snack and considered by many to be a national dish of New Zealand.

Photo by agcreations

3. Fish and Chips

Like mince pie and Marmite, fish and chips is a clear example of the British influence on New Zealand food. It’s another popular takeaway food that’s made with battered and fried fresh fish – usually elephant fish, red cod, blue warehou, tarakihi, or hoki – served with chips (french fries).

You can have them with regular chips but fish and chip shops will sell them with kūmara or sweet potato chips as well.

Photo by lucidwaters

4. Whitebait Fritters

When I showed Jeremy my preliminary list of New Zealand foods, he told me: “You need to add whitebait fritters!” Considered a delicacy in New Zealand, the term “whitebait” refers to the immature fry of fish.

Whitebait can pertain to different species of fish but in New Zealand, it refers to the fry of freshwater galaxiid fish. They’re typically harvested when they’re about 15-22 weeks old and measure around 45-55 mm (1.7-2.2 in) in length. For sustainability reasons, whitebaiting in New Zealand is a seasonal activity with a legally fixed period.

As its name suggests, whitebait fritters are fried patties made with a mixture of whole whitebait and beaten eggs. You can often find them at the same shops that sell fish and chips.

Photo by Inanga at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

5. Crayfish

If you’re willing to splurge on seafood, then you’ll definitely want to try crayfish. Known locally as crays, crayfish or rock lobsters are similar to Maine lobsters except they lack the large pincers on their first pair of walking legs.

There are two species of rock lobster common along New Zealand’s coast and offshore islands – the red or spiny rock lobster and the packhorse rock lobster. Fully-grown specimens can fetch up to NZD 85 at New Zealand restaurants. Not exactly the cheapest dish but definitely one of the most decadent and delicious.

Photo by YAYImages

6. Green-Lipped Mussels

No discussion on the best New Zealand seafood can be complete without mentioning green-lipped mussels. Endemic to New Zealand, it’s a large mussel species that gets its common name from the tinge of green on the outer edge of its shell.

Green-lipped mussels have been a delicacy in New Zealand for hundreds of years. They’re abundant and cheap and typically served grilled or steamed. Green-lipped mussels can be found throughout New Zealand with some of the tastiest specimens coming from the Marlborough region of South Island.

Photo by PhaiApirom

7. Lamb

You may have heard that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand. It’s true.

In 2019, it was estimated that sheep outnumbered people by about 5.6 to 1 in New Zealand. That statistic is surprising enough but it’s a far cry from the 22 to 1 figure recorded in 1982! Sheep farming is an important industry in New Zealand so it’s no surprise that lamb is frequently on the menu.

What makes sheep in New Zealand different is that they’re grass-fed throughout their lives. They’re also slaughtered at a younger age which makes them tastier and more tender than their grain-fed counterparts in other countries.

They can be cooked in a number of ways but roast lamb is the most popular. Pair roast leg of lamb with a bottle of good New Zealand wine and you’ve got the ultimate Kiwi favorite.

Photo by golubovystock

8. Māori Hāngi

There’s no better way to experience New Zealand food culture than with a hāngi. It refers to a traditional Māori method of cooking meat and vegetables in an earthen oven.

To prepare a hāngi, a pit is dug to a depth of about 50–100 cm (20–40 in) and lined with rocks heated to 600–700 °C (1,100–1,300 °F). Meat and vegetables are placed in separate wire baskets lined with banana leaves or aluminum foil. The meat basket is placed over the heated rocks first followed by the vegetables. The pit is then covered with earth, leaving the food to cook for about 3-4 hours.

This slow-cooking method results in smokey, earthy vegetables and fall-off-the-bone meats. It’s a Māori tradition that’s typically reserved for larger gatherings and special occasions.

Photo by lucidwaters

9. Anzac Biscuit

The Anzac biscuit is a type of sweet biscuit that’s equally popular in New Zealand and Australia. It’s made with rolled oats, flour, butter, golden syrup, sugar, and baking soda.

Interestingly, the Anzac biscuit gets its name from its association with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. According to the story, wives and women’s groups preferred sending Anzac biscuits to soldiers abroad because they were made with ingredients that kept well during naval transportation.

Photo by NoirChocolate

10. Pavlova

When I asked my sister to write this guest post about pavlova, it earned me bonus points with my brother-in-law. He was happy that I classified it correctly as a New Zealand dessert and not Australian. New Zealanders are so adamant about claiming pavlova as their own that they’ve declared it a New Zealand national dish.

Pavlova refers to a cake-like block of baked meringue topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. It was invented sometime in the early 20th century and named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured New Zealand and Australia in the 1920s.

Photo by GreenArt_Photography

11. Lamington

Like Anzac biscuits and pavlova, lamingtons are a popular dessert in both Australia and New Zealand. But unlike pavlova whose origins are often disputed (sorry Jeremy), lamingtons are definitively Australian in origin. They’re said to be named after Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.

Lamingtons are little cubes of butter or sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce and rolled in desiccated coconut. They can de made with or without a thin layer of cream or strawberry jam between the two lamington halves.

If you’re familiar with Croatian food, then you may recognize these as čupavci.

Photo by Dariozg

12. Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

Hokey pokey is the New Zealand term for honeycomb toffee and refers to an iconic flavor of Kiwi ice cream. It consists of creamy vanilla ice cream mixed in with small, solid lumps of toffee.

Interestingly, hokey pokey ice cream is often cited as an example of Kiwiana, a New Zealand term used to describe iconic and sometimes quirky objects that “contribute to a sense of nationhood”.

Photo by [email protected]

13. Golden Kiwi

We’re all familiar with the kiwi, an iconic fruit that’s often used as a nickname for New Zealanders. Most people know kiwis to have green flesh but did you know that yellow or golden kiwis are also common in New Zealand?

Ranging in color from a bright green to an intense yellow, golden kiwis are sweeter and more aromatic than their green cousins. They’re also known to have a softer texture with smoother, less rough skin.

Photo by bergamont

14. Mānuka Honey

When I think of interesting New Zealand foods, mānuka honey is one of the first things that comes to mind. It’s interesting because it looks, smells, and tastes different from golden honey. As you can see below, it looks more like dulce de leche than regular honey.

Mānuka honey is made from bees that pollinate the mānuka tree. It’s known for its strong aroma and flavor that’s been described as “florid, herbaceous, and earthy”. It’s more viscous than golden honey and is typically eaten raw to preserve its strong antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties.

Photo by Dpimborough

15. Lemon & Paeroa (L&P) Soda

Rounding out this list of New Zealand foods is Lemon & Paeroa (L&P) Soda, an iconic soft drink that’s been enjoyed in New Zealand since 1907. L&P is originally from the North Island town of Paeroa where it was made by combining lemon juice with carbonated mineral water. Today, the brand is owned and manufactured by the Coca-Cola company.

Like hokey pokey ice cream, L&P is an example of Kiwiana. Its advertising slogan – “World famous in New Zealand” – has become a popular saying that’s often used to describe items that are famous in New Zealand but unknown to the rest of the world.

Photo by Kristoferb, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom


At the risk of stating the obvious, no one knows the food in New Zealand better than a local. If you really want to learn about the local cuisine, then one of the best ways to do that is to join a food tour.

Not only will a knowledgeable guide take you to the city’s best restaurants and markets, but they’ll be able to explain all the dishes and wines to you in more detail. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of food and wine tours in New Zealand.


We’re yet to take up my brother-in-law’s open invitation to go traveleating in New Zealand, but we will soon. After all, roast lamb is a big part of Ren’s hypothetical last meal. With nearly six grass-fed animals to every person, there are few better places in the world to eat lamb than in New Zealand.

I just texted my sister but she can’t remember the name of that salmon farm near Queenstown. My brother-in-law knows. I’ll be sure to ask them again before that trip.


Some of the links in this New Zealand food guide are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by Kate_Smirnova. Stock images via Depositphotos.

25 Popular and Delicious Ice Cream Flavors

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Like pizza, it’s one of the first foods I can think of that’s universally loved across all cultures.

You can make ice cream out of almost anything so there are literally thousands of flavors from around the world. Some are conventional, others not so much.

Case in point, we were in Oaxaca recently and got to try one of the strangest ice cream flavors we’ve ever had on a trip – grasshopper. Seriously.

And I’m not talking about a scoop of ice cream topped with toasted grasshoppers either. The grasshoppers were blended into the ice cream so you couldn’t see them but you could definitely taste them. It was an odd but intriguing blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty that’s probably not for everyone.

As much as we enjoy trying these strange flavors, we find that the classics are still the best. We’ve rounded up 25 of our favorite ice cream flavors here. Some of them may not be as exciting as squid ink ice cream but they’re definitely among the most delicious.

I think we’ll leave the balut ice cream for another list.

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Photo by IMelnyk


1. Vanilla Ice Cream

This is a no-brainer. Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor in the world so it only makes sense to start this list with vanilla ice cream. It isn’t the sexiest flavor but it’s definitely one of the most delicious and versatile.

Made from vanilla bean, vanilla ice cream is delicious on its own but it’s often the flavor of choice when serving desserts a la mode. Apple pie, brownies, turon, and pisang goreng are just a few desserts we’ve tried that are made even more delicious by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Photo by koss13

2. Chocolate Ice Cream

Like vanilla and strawberry, you can’t compile a list of the world’s best flavors of ice cream without including chocolate.

Vanilla may be the most popular flavor but chocolate ice cream was invented first. In fact, it could very well be the world’s first ice cream flavor. In 17th century Europe, popular drinks like hot chocolate, coffee, and tea were the first food items to be turned into frozen desserts.

Chocolate ice cream is typically made by blending cocoa powder with eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla. All types of chocolate ice cream are heavenly but personally, we love the versions made with dark chocolate. The richness and slight bitterness of the dark chocolate is to die for.

Like vanilla, chocolate ice cream is often used as a base to create other ice cream flavors like rocky road, neapolitan, and chocolate fudge brownie.

Photo by koss13

3. Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry completes the holy trinity of simple but quintessentially delicious ice cream flavors. It can be made with strawberry flavoring but the best versions are made with fresh strawberries blended in with eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla.

I’ve never met a Haagen-Dazs flavor I didn’t like but their strawberry ice cream is my hands-down favorite. It’s so creamy and delicious.

Photo by ajafoto

4. Chocolate Chip

Chocolate chip ice cream is basically vanilla ice cream enriched with mini chocolate chips.

When I first arrived for school in the US, chocolate chip ice cream became my first love. We didn’t have this ice cream flavor in my native Philippines back then so I was intrigued by the bits of chocolate in the ice cream!

As delicious as it is, vanilla can sometimes be boring but the chocolate chips give the ice cream texture and little punches of chocolate flavor.

Photo by StephanieFrey

Can you believe that something as universally appealing as ice cream can have its controversies? Like pineapple on pizza, there are some people who don’t think that chocolate and mint should go together, which is exactly what you get in every scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

To its detractors, this refreshing blend of mint and chocolate tastes like toothpaste. Personally, it isn’t my favorite ice cream flavor but I say to each his own!

Photo by bhofack2

5. Butter Pecan

Butter pecan ice cream is a rich, buttery, and nutty ice cream flavor that’s popular mostly in the US. It’s essentially vanilla ice cream enriched with whole pecans toasted in browned butter. Need I say more?

Photo by krisrobin

6. Matcha

We absolutely love matcha. We consume it as often as we can whenever we visit Japan, especially in Kyoto.

Matcha refers to the finely ground powder made from green tea leaves. Aside from being an integral component in Japanese tea ceremonies, it’s a commonly used ingredient in many Japanese food products like cakes, cookies, crackers, and candy. Earthy and a bit grassy, it has a unique and complex flavor that’s difficult to describe.

Anything made with matcha is delicious but personally, I enjoy it most in green tea ice cream. You can enjoy matcha soft cream (soft serve ice cream) anywhere in Japan but the best comes from Uji, a small town between Kyoto and Nara. Eating matcha ice cream in any form is an absolute must in Japan.

Photo by anna.pustynnikova

7. Eggnog

I spent a good chunk of my early life in the States and one of my favorite things about the US was the eggnog. A Christmas holiday tradition, I remember getting my first sip of eggnog and thinking: “What in heaven’s name is this magical creation? It tastes just like liquid ice cream!”

Needless to say, if you’re a fan of that incredibly rich and creamy gift to humankind known as eggnog, then you’re going to love this ice cream. It already tastes like ice cream so it only makes sense to eat it as ice cream!

A quick side note, if you ever visit Mexico, then be sure to try rompope ice cream. Rompope is basically the Mexican version of eggnog.

Photo by bhofack2

8. Teaberry

Teaberry is another ice cream flavor that’s popular in the US, mostly in Pennsylvania. Because of its bright pink color, you’d think it was flavored with Pepto Bismol but it’s actually made from teaberries, a crimson-colored pea-sized fruit native to New England.

The teaberry is a polarizing fruit. Like mint chocolate chip, people either love or hate teaberry ice cream because of its intensely minty, almost medicinal flavor that tastes nothing like berries.

Food products made from teaberries aren’t as popular as they once were but teaberry ice cream is definitely something to look for on your next trip to Pennsylvania. Love it or hate it, you can at least say that you tried it.

Photo by yuliang11

9. Neapolitan

Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are three of the most popular ice cream flavors so it only makes sense to combine them in this creamy mash-up known as Neapolitan ice cream. It consists of those three iconic flavors served side by side in the same container.

Neapolitan ice cream was invented in the 19th century and gets its name from its presumed origin of Naples. Italian immigrants brought their frozen-dessert-making skills to the US and created this three-flavor combination to resemble the Italian flag.

Photo by bradcalkins

Tubs of ice cream made with two or more flavors are common now but Neapolitan ice cream was the first type of ice cream that combined three flavors.

Photo by Slast

10. Moose Tracks

Ice cream making is such big business in the US that you’ll often hear of branded flavors like Cherry Garcia and Phish Food. The flavors produced by Ben & Jerry’s are the most well-known but another famous ice cream flavor is Moose Tracks by the Denali Flavors company.

Moose Tracks is basically vanilla ice cream leveled up with peanut butter cups (or brownie bits) and their trademark Moose Tracks fudge. Aside from vanilla, it can be made with other ice cream flavors as well like chocolate and mint.

Photo by bhofack2

11. Rocky Road

Rocky Road is an established ice cream flavor in the US made with chocolate ice cream, nuts, and marshmallows. It’s said to have been invented by William Dreyer of the Dreyer’s ice cream company in the late 1920s.

According to the story, Dreyer and his partner named it “Rocky Road” to give Americans something to smile about after the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Photo by stu_spivack, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

12. Coffee

I’m a big coffee drinker so it only follows that coffee is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. Perfect as an after-dinner indulgence, it’s made with eggs, cream, vanilla, and sugar infused with the awesomeness of finely ground coffee beans.

Photo by yuliang11

13. Mocha

I used to be confused by mocha as a kid because I didn’t know what mocha meant. It tasted sort of like chocolate but it was lighter in color like milk coffee. As it turns out, it’s a combination of both.

Originally from Yemen, mocha basically refers to coffee drinks sweetened with chocolate.

Photo by szefei

14. Pistachio

Pistachio is another of my personal favorite flavors of ice cream. Known for its distinctively pale green color, it has a wonderfully nutty flavor derived from finely ground pistachios and almond paste.

Photo by tashka2000

I initially found chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to be a bit strange when I first arrived in the US. I had never eaten raw cookie dough before and never would have thought of doing it had it not been for this ice cream flavor. As its name suggests, it’s essentially vanilla ice cream mixed in with unbaked chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough.

I didn’t know this until I started doing research for this article, but this ice cream flavor was apparently invented at the first Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop in Vermont in 1984.

Photo by bhofack2

16. Cookies n’ Cream

Cookies n’ cream is another ice cream flavor that’s easy to love. It’s basically vanilla ice cream mixed in with crumbled bits of chocolate sandwich cookies like Oreos. It’s great as ice cream but in my opinion, it’s even better as a milkshake.

Photo by rafer76

17. Ube (My Favorite Ice Cream Flavor!)

I may be biased but ube is my favorite flavor of ice cream. Ube or purple yam is an ingredient from the Philippines that’s taken the world by storm thanks to its sweet earthy flavor and lovely purple color. Like matcha, its color makes it perfectly suited for Instagram.

Ube is used as the main ingredient in many desserts like cakes, cookies, and croissants but in my opinion, ube ice cream is the best. It’s often the crowning ingredient on halo-halo, a popular Filipino dessert made with shaved ice, condensed milk, and other ingredients like sweetened beans, coconut strips, and sugar palm fruit.

Photo by bhofack2

18. Butterscotch

Butterscotch – a caramel-like sweet made with brown sugar and butter – is the driving ingredient in this luscious flavor of ice cream. Like caramel, butterscotch sauce has long been used as an ice cream topping though it works just as well when incorporated into the ice cream itself.

If you like butterscotch ice cream, then you need to try the Indian version. Butterscotch is one of the most popular ice cream flavors in India where it’s often topped with crunchy pralines.

Indian butterscotch ice cream differs from western versions in that it’s made with milk instead of cream. It also contains less sugar and is made with additional spices and aromatics like cardamom, saffron, and rosewater.

Photo by bhofack2

19. Salted Caramel

Caramel is very similar to butterscotch except it’s made with granulated white sugar instead of brown sugar. The sugar is caramelized and mixed with cream, salt, and other ingredients to make a sauce that’s used as a topping or flavoring for ice cream.

Caramel ice cream is delicious but salted caramel ice cream may be even better. As its name suggests, it’s made with more salt which helps to enhance and bring out the flavor of the caramel.

Photo by

20. Cherry Garcia

As previously mentioned, Cherry Garcia is one of Ben & Jerry’s most iconic ice cream flavors. Named after the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, it was produced in 1987 and remains the company’s most famous fan-suggested flavor of ice cream. I’m not a fan of the Grateful Dead but I do remember being impressed by the name. Clever!

When it first came out, it started off as cherry vanilla ice cream but today, it’s made with cherry ice cream mixed in with cherry bits and chocolate flakes.

Photo by Don.chulio, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

21. Chunky Monkey

Chunky Monkey is another famous flavor from Ben & Jerry’s. As you can probably guess from its name, it’s made with a base of banana ice cream filled with fudge chunks and walnuts.

Like Cherry Garcia, this now iconic Chunky Monkey flavor was created from a suggestion made by an anonymous customer.

Photo by Don.chulio, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

22. Queso (Cheese)

Queso or cheese is another of my personal favorite flavors of ice cream. It may not be as popular in the west but it’s long been one of the most common flavors of street ice cream in the Philippines.

To some people, ice cream with cheese may sound odd and slightly off-putting, but it actually works. It’s the perfect combination of salty, sharp, creamy, and sweet.

Photo by ajafoto

23. Mango

Strawberry may be the most popular fruit-based flavor in the west, but visit the tropics and you’ll find ice cream made with fruits like coconut, durian, soursop, and mamey.

Personally, my favorite is mango. The Philippines is known for having the best mangoes in the world, which probably influences my preference. A little.

Photo by 00coffeecat00

24. Coconut

Visit Bangkok and you’ll quickly realize that coconut is the most popular ice cream flavor in Thailand. It’s a heavenly, tropical blend of egg yolks, heavy cream, and sugar enriched with sweetened shreds of coconut, coconut milk, and coconut cream.

Photo by denio109

25. Bubble Gum

Last but not least is perhaps the oddest ice cream flavor on this list, at least to non-Americans. In other parts of the world, “bubble gum” and “ice cream” don’t belong in the same sentence together but in the US, it’s an iconic ice cream flavor.

This brightly-hued blue and/or pink flavor of All-American ice cream is made with bubble gum flavoring and whole gumballs. I read up on what “bubble gum flavoring” actually means and as it turns out, it’s made from a unique blend of chemicals that smell like fruit.

Hey, if ice cream can be made with grasshoppers and squid ink, then why not bubble gum?

Photo by kitzzeh


With all the existing flavors out in the market today, and with all the new flavors being created tomorrow, it’s impossible to come up with a definitive list of the best ice cream flavors. These lists are inherently subjective which is part of what makes them fun to compile and compare. Everyone’s list will be different and that’s perfectly ok.

While doing research for this article, I read about a few concoctions that I had never heard of like peanut butter and jelly ice cream, Eskimo ice cream, and Tonight Dough. Eskimo ice cream or Akutuq sounds especially intriguing. Made with caribou fat, seal oil, and berries, it’s something that we’ll definitely look for should we ever find ourselves in Alaska.

Bizarre food intrigues me so I may follow up this article with a list of the world’s weirdest ice cream flavors. Until then, I hope you enjoyed reading this article and feel free to chime in with your own favorites below. Thank you!

Cover photo by gorkemdemir. Stock images via Depositphotos.